YAMAHA R1 (1998-2003) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with"

Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding

"Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The third and final great sports bike of the nineties. The FireBlade set the agenda, the 916 added finesse and the Yamaha YZF-R1 topped them off with extra power and madness. Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with and updated Yamaha YZF-R1s are even more potent and easier to use too.

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R1 is a track bike to demolish rivals and wring the rider’s adrenal glands dry. The original 98-99 model was the liveliest and hardest to tame. Later Yamaha YZF-R1s were easier to pilot but don’t think that means they’re soft in any way. The original Yamaha YZF-R1 was slightly hard to turn into corners and could run wide. Later versions were improved with a stiffer headstock and firmer forks. Ace brakes.

 

Engine 4 out of 5

Evoultion at it’s finest – the technology’s not hugely changed since the FZR1000 of 1989 but the Yamaha YZF-R1 has always delivered a minimum of 150bhp (130 at the wheel). Torque is never in short supply and the bike’s light weight makes the most of both. The Yamaha YZF-R1's gearbox can be a little reluctant.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

No major problems and finish is much better than early/mid 90s Yamahas. Beware race/track Yamaha YZF-R1s which have been thrashed. Problems with the gearbox are very rare despite internet rumours suggesting otherwise. The black finish on the frame and swingarm of 2003/03 Yamaha YZF-R1s rubs off easily.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R1 was top dog sports bike until the GSX-R1000 appeared in 2001. Parallel imports and stiff competition from Honda and Suzuki mean prices stay sensible. But equally there’s no such thing as a good, clean, cheap Yamaha YZF-R1 – they’re a desirable bike and good ones always sell. Honda’s FireBlade from 2002 onwards is a comparable machine and the GSX-R arguably better.

Find a Yamaha R1 for sale

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Extra equipment on a race rep just ads weight so the Yamaha YZF-R1’s pretty minimal. Comfort’s pretty good for a rider although Yamaha YZF-R1 pillions must be brave. Headlights are effective even if the mirrors aren’t brilliant. There’s some underseat storage too unlike later Yamaha YZF-R1s where exhausts occupy that space – although from 2002 it’s minimal.

Owners' Reviews

18 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA R1 (1998-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA R1 (1998-2003)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

21 August 2016 by BarryBallbagg

Bought last year year for 3 grand. Not a mark on it. No mechanical or electrical issues of any kind, it just works. Performance is obviously out of this world and it sounds awesome. Such extreme performance and reliability for £3000 is mind boggling. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Exceptional.
Engine
5 out of 5
Mind-boggling.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Nothing has ever gone wrong or even needed adjusting (other than the chain).
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Roughly £300 for the service. Can't argue with that.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Not much in the way of equipment, but this is a litre superbike.
5 out of 5

R1 carb engine is ace

26 December 2015 by ChrisG99R1

Smooth and Sweet Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Nice but typical jap quality long term
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Future Classic, still bargains out there

5 out of 5

I love my 2003 Yamaha YZF R1 5PW

18 December 2015 by Ben Bentley

I needed a bike and this was the right place at the right cash, Taking a massive punt in 2011 She cost me £2750 with 12k miles, part service history and sounding lumpy at idle. After a service the issue was resolved due to a wrong spark plug being... Read more installed by some numpty. Most of all She is reliable, fast enough keep up with newer bikes to the horror of "that's a 2003 R1!! WTF". handles well. Best of all these are worth pennies and there are some good buys to be had, If you want a little more power just add a full akro system and a Power commander 5 like I have done. Recommended? Yes, If your on a tight budget and you want a reliable, fast, first big bike, buy one. They look amazing in black and silver.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Handling is nice and neutral, and someone looking to step up to there first big bike should have a look. Brakes became a little spongy due to the original brake lines still being in use 10 years after build, a nice set of Hel lines with fresh dot 4 has worked wonders for the ageing girl. I occasionally and comfortably do 175 miles in one go but tank range lets me down (160 inc reserve) so plan your routes especially in rural areas, you only get a 20 mile reserve. I dropped down 1 mark due to the wife moaning about the comfortable seat.
Engine
5 out of 5
Nice smooth linear delivery of power, provided by this funny injector/carb fuelling, great idea but didn't catch on. Keep an eye on the Exup valve these are prone to ceasing and make things a little lumpy at low end but you do get a warning on dash. 150hp is plenty for the road but there are plenty of bolt ons to be had if you want more power.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Owned since 2010 and used all year round, I have only had one issue and that was the stator mid 2015 at 21,000 miles, I took it to my local mechanic who swapped it out with a non Yam unit as a genuine part would have been £420 +PP. Mine was £499 inc stator, new chain and sprocket, oil, oil filter and labour. There is some corrosion on the front disc bolts and the dust seals on forks are looking a little nasty. I have also fitted 1 battery. Overall she's in good condition for being 12 rears old and still looks lovely when cleaned and polished. Keep an eye on the exhaust Ex-up valve.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
If she needs it she gets it. I refuse to pay Yamaha overheads as she is 12 years old although I have used Yamaha to source a fairing duzf bolt at £9.00. Insurance is OK, I paid £120 last year including modification, but being 40 with 10 years no claims helps.
Equipment
5 out of 5
What do you want from a sports bike? If you want anti wheelie, ABS, traction control any other thing that you need to control the massive amount of power, you need to look else where. I like the hazard warning lights. I'm currently running Bridgestone 016r and I get about 4-5k to a rear not bad. I think tyres are a personal choice and use what works for your own confidence and the bike. I will look in to Michelin next time. Other best bits are a set of Hel brakelines, full Akrapovic system, Power commander 5, full set of R&G crash bungs. double bubble screen, rear seat cowl. I have also fitted some Osram night breaker head lamps (which are a must for any bike).
Buying experience

Private buyer and I paid the full asking price as it was a bargain anyway.

5 out of 5

r1 5jj

13 December 2015 by chunky

had this bike for 12 years and the engine is still as strong today as the day i purchased. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
you are not cramped much and also wrists are ok after a long ride, brakes are very good even by today's standards.
Engine
5 out of 5
low end power is very good
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
only replaced reg rectifier and battery in 12 years 40 thousand miles
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
very easy to do minor service
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

1998 R1 4XV

10 August 2011 by samsex

I have had my white/red 98 R1 for over 5 yrs. I set the bike up as per a Performance Bike magazine recommendation and boy what a superb machine. I have a 15/46 sprocket combo, which put the speedo out, so I fitted a speedo healer unit to correct the... Read more readout. The bike is mint and always draws admiring comments. It is extremely quick, very light on the front under hard acceleration and shakes it head (which i like!) Knee downs are a doddle, although if the tyre pressures drift off a bit, it does affect the handling quite a lot, so you need to keep checking it. The early bikes are getting more sought after, and only a few weeks ago I was offered a 'Name Your Price' to sell it, which I declined. I have owned many bikes, including a Honda SP1, the R1 wipes the floor with it in my opinion. Get one while you can!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

YamahaR1 5pw 2003 review

11 August 2010 by stevejacko101

excellent all round bike, mines a 2003 fuel injected model. Fitted a power commander to smooth the power out, fuel silencer and KN aitfilter, goes like the wind and still looks the part. only one negative, its a bit thirsty on the petrol but the... Read more smile factor overcomes this. next mod is to put a racefit silencer on it and get it remapped and dyno'd.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

brilliant bike

09 January 2010 by leeyamr1

Had my 02 R1 for 2 years and its the carb model not the fuel injected model and its a brill bike will be keeping this one for a long long time thank god for plenty of storage under rear seat for all my onboard camera gear again a great bike Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

brilliant bike

09 January 2010 by leeyamr1

Had my 02 R1 for 2 years and its the carb model not the fuel injected model and its a brill bike will be keeping this one for a long long time thank god for plenty of storage under rear seat for all my onboard camera gear again a great bike Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

r1 99

04 October 2009 by nordkey

hi ive ridden my r1 now for the last 5yrs its a v reg 99 and is the best handleing bike ive ridden fast is jus silly and exceloation is amazin id only get rid of it 4 a 2001 model Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Great bike

08 August 2009 by lorano

Got my 2000 R1 last weekend after owning an RRW fireblade.To say the R1 is fast is an understatement!!Its silly fast,really torquey pulls like a train even in top gear!Looks fantastic,looks how many modern sports bikes do now.Impressed so far so... Read more heres hoping it can only get better!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Used price £2,200 to £45,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £270
Performance
Max power 150 bhp
Max torque 80 ft-lb
Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 20v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 175kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1998: Original Yamaha YZF-R1 launched.
2000: Revised Yamaha YZF-R1 has 150 changes – most noticeable sleeker tail unit and titanium exhaust.
2002: More changes to Yamaha YZF-R1 for less weight, more power, fuel injection  and more environmentally friendly. Black frame and swing arm, letterbox tail light.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Brakes
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